Cross Town Fun Tonight at Hawk Stadium
Cross town rivals Pleasant Grove and Liberty-Eylau collide tonight at PG.
The game as even more importance this year because it is a district game with playoff implications. Before we talk about the game lets take a look back at last weeks big shutout Hawk victory over Gilmer on the road 14-0.
That game was played in a driving rainstorm and PG manager to go through the night with no turnovers, Head Coach Josh Gibson was elated with his kids, "This was a great win for our program. Gilmer has only lost two home district games in the past 18 years(both to PG the last two years) and this was the first shutout that Gilmer has suffered since 2001. Those two facts alon show how great of a win this was for our team.'
The Hawks defense has been nothing short of stellar this past few weeks. Gibson says it starts at the top, saying, "Our new Defensive Coordinator Clint Fuller and our defensive coaches:Steve Morris, Blake Worley, Andy Allen, Dwight McCowan, and Dalton Longenbaugh. They work extremely hard to come up with great game plans."
He went on to say the players have done an excellent job stepping up and playing great defense this year. He touted senior starters Bladen Reaves, Caleb Hemphill, Tyler Kelley, Ryan Pickleman and Kamren Woods. Also, mentioned two younger players Landon Jackson and Nick Martin.
Offensively another good night for running back Bruce Garrett. Gibson noted the offensive line that plays, "smart and dominates the trenches."
Obviously with the terrible weather the passing game was limited but has generated big plays and touchdowns all season. Gibson noted, "We are averaging over 22 yards a reception, and have 13 touchdown passes with only 1 interception. Ben(Harmon) has been great, and Jackson Cobb, Brett Walker, Kamren Woods, and Sergio Rodriguez have all been big weapons for us.'
Heading into the Leopard game, the injury bug has hit the Hawks a bit this week. Gibson says that means they have to approach it has the next man up mentally. He is looking forward to seeing players step up for the unit.
As for the Leopards, don't be fooled by the won-loss record this season. Gibson describes them as extremely athletic and dangerous. He notes L-E has played the hardest schedule in the state and came out of it with some tough losses. He still describes them as a multiple round playoff team. They are in his words, "Very good."
So what are the keys to victory for the Hawks in this game. Gibson says don't beat yourselves and adds," Our keys are to play smarter, harder, and more together than our opponent. We can't beat ourselves with turnovers and penalties in a game of this magnitude. We cannot give up the big play on defense."
Its also Senior Night at Hawk Stadium. Depending on whether it works out of the Hawks to have a home playoff game, this will be it for Senior players at home. It's also a very emotional night for many including Coach Gibson, who enjoys mentoring and coaching his kids. He always hates to know that time is running out for him to be with his senior student athletes."These players have been a big part of our lives the past five years and we've made some special memories together. They've invested a lot in our program and our community. This class is extremely special.'
If you are a high school football fan, Hawk Stadium is the place to be tonight. The weather is going to be perfect for the game. The teams are ready for a super match-up and Seniors from not only the football team, but the Cheerleading Squad, Showstoppers, and the PG Band will be recognized and honored.
The atmosphere at Hawk Stadium is one of the best in Texas and it definitely will be the place to be. I will be there, hope you are too.